Apart from passion and drive, learning and understanding the essentials on how to become a childbirth educator is very important if you want to pursue this career, and be successful at it.
Giving birth is one of the most precious moments in a woman’s life. However, it can also be very challenging.
Good thing, there are professionals out there, particularly childbirth educators whose primary job is to educate parents-to-be from pregnancy to labor, and of course, birth. Additionally, they also provide information about parenthood.
Back in the days, parents especially moms had to figure out things themselves. But thanks to Elisabeth Bing and Marjorie Karmel, they’ve changed the world of childbirth.
According to an article published in the United States National Library of Medicine – National Institute of Health entitled, “Childbirth Education at the Crossroads,” the formal childbirth education was created by Bing and Karmel in 1960.
It was through the two women’s initiatives that changed how women today cope with pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and even parenthood.
Today, parents particularly moms-to-be are more educated about the process, which is great as it helps them prepare for what’s ahead. Needless to say, being informed helps keep them calm and not scared or worried. Thanks to childbirth educators.
But how does one become a childbirth educators? What does it entail to become one?
Well, as promised, we are going to share with you today essential information that you need if you are eyeing to work as one.
In particular, we are going to tackle the following important points:
- What is a childbirth educator?
- What is the role of a childbirth educator?
- Who qualifies to become a childbirth educator?
- How to become a childbirth educator?
- Where to get a childbirth educator certification?
- How to choose a childbirth educator certification organization?
- How much does a childbirth educator make?
WHAT IS A CHILDBIRTH EDUCATOR?
First of all, before we even talk about the technicalities of the job, it’s important that we tackle what a childbirth educator is all about —
According to the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), which is one of the organizations that provide childbirth educator certification, a childbirth educator is someone who “works with families preparing for pregnancy and during pregnancy, offering non-biased support, encouragement, and evidence-based information as needed”.
Furthermore, it states that a “childbirth educator’s primary goal is to equip families with the skills to evaluate all their options”.
Childbirth educators work in different working environments where they can offer their services as a public health educator, hospital/community educator, and in most cases, they do private practice.
Meanwhile, the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) defines childbirth educators as “professional sources of information”. They are professional individuals who have the skills to support parents as they go through pregnancy, labor, birth, as well as parenthood in general.
As mentioned earlier, back in the days, childbirth educators do not exist. However, in 1960, Elisabeth Bing and Marjorie Karmel created formal childbirth education. It was an initiative that was pushed by women who wanted to be awake and aware at the time of giving birth.
However, over the years, childbirth education has become more than just the process of giving birth. Today, childbirth educators teach, guide, and assist upcoming parents from pregnancy down to labor and childbirth, as well as parenthood. The scope of work has definitely become broad, but nonetheless, all are interrelated.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A CHILBIRTH EDUCATOR?
Before moving on and answering the question, to give you a bit of inspiration, the video below from Lamaze International is a sharing from its Board Member Maria Brooks on why she became a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator:
A childbirth educator is a professional individual who develops as well as implements health education programs that were designed to help increase awareness as well as knowledge to couples who are planning to give birth.
As a childbirth educator, your primary job is to help couples prepare not only for pregnancy but most importantly, for labor and childbirth. As mentioned earlier, they also help parents-to-be learn and understand parenthood.
A childbirth educator plays an important role when it comes to disseminating right and updated information about childbirth to their patients.
As a childbirth educator, you help prepare parents especially moms-to-be not just on the process, but even life after giving birth.
WHO QUALIFIES TO BECOME A CHILDBIRTH EDUATOR?
Now that you already know what a childbirth educator is, in this section, we are going to share with you the qualifications you need in order to become a childbirth educator.
Generally speaking, being a childbirth educator requires you to hold a bachelor’s degree. Of course, this means, you have to be of legal age.
Certification is also required. Being a certified childbirth educator is important as it will say a lot about your credibility as an educator.
Furthermore, while some organizations not mind having previous work experience, others require at least 2 to 4 years of related experience.
To be sure, make sure to check the qualifications required by the organization you are eyeing to work for – although most childbirth educators prefer working independently.
HOW TO BECOME A CHILDBIRTH EDUCATOR?
In this section, we are going to provide you relevant information on how to become a childbirth educator.
To become a childbirth educator, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:
STEP 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree.
Although any degree will do, it’s best if you have a bachelor’s degree that is somehow related to childbirth like Biology, Psychology, etc.
Having a bachelor’s degree in one of the primary requirements to become a childbirth educator especially if you want to take the profession seriously. Most organizations require a bachelor’s degree in order to apply for childbirth educator certification.
So, if you are really serious about becoming a childbirth educator, make sure you earn a degree first.
STEP 2: Understand the roles and responsibilities of a childbirth educator.
Before anything else, it is important that you fully know and understand the roles and responsibilities of the job.
Earlier, we talked about the roles of an educator, but that is still broad, to be honest, and the best way to truly know and understand the roles and responsibilities of a childbirth educator is by getting a certification.
To be able to get certified, you have to undergo training, which is key to fully understanding what the job requires.
STEP 3: Prepare relevant skills you need to become an efficient childbirth educator.
Apart from being certified, you also need to work on learning certain skills to be able to help you become an efficient and successful childbirth educator.
Some of the skills you need as a childbirth educator includes:
- Excellent Communication Skills – As an educator, you will be communicating a lot. Thus, it is only right that you have excellent communication skills to be able to effectively relay the important information your client needs.
- Passion for Pregnancy and Birth – Any skill is useless if you do not have a passion for everything about pregnancy and birth. As an educator, it has to be within you. Your clients will see it as you inform and assist them
- Presentation Skills – To be able to effectively share important information with your clients, you have to ensure that you properly present them, and you do that in an excellent manner. Make sure that what you say is evident in what your client sees.
- Time Management Skills – As a childbirth educator, you do not only handle one client. Thus, it is important that you manage your time well to be able to assist your clients when they need you most.
In addition, you must also be very patient and understanding with your clients especially first-timers as they are still grasping the whole idea of pregnancy, giving birth, as well as parenthood.
STEP 4: Work on your childbirth educator certification.
To be able to work as a childbirth educator, you need to be certified, and there are a lot of organizations out there that provide childbirth educator certifications (which we are going to talk further in the next section).
Here’s the thing, though, depending on the program you take and the organization you choose, the whole certification process may take two years or less.
Yes, you read it right. It takes a lot of time, so have to really think about it seriously, and so that once you start with the childbirth educator program, there’s no more turning back.
Apart from the time, you will also need to invest financially. But, we bet you, all your investments will be worth it once you become one. If it helps keep you motivated, keep in mind that every year, there are a lot of new babies, which means every year there are a lot of upcoming parents who may need your knowledge and expertise.
STEP 5: Continue learning.
Here’s the thing, gaining certification is not the endpoint. If you want to stay on top of your game, you have to continuously learn. After all, there is always new information out there on childbirth and anything that has to do with that.
To stay competitive, and to up your value as a childbirth educator, always be thirsty for new knowledge about pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and parenthood.
WHERE TO GET A CHILDBIRTH EDUCATOR CERTIFICATION?
As mentioned earlier, in this section, we are going to provide you with some of the organizations that provide childbirth educator certifications. The list includes the following:
Childbirth International was established in 1998 because of the lack of training for birth educators, lactation counselors, as well as doulas.
The organization’s goal is to make certification more accessible for individuals who want to pursue such a career but have families to attend to, daily jobs, as well as those living outside their work.
Childbirth International uses a multitude of various teaching techniques that will help you develop strong communication capability, as well as critical skills like reflective practice and active listening.
With Childbirth International, you can finish the program at your own pace, which is why it is ideal for busy people. Also, you have the option to either study online or have printed manuals instead.
While prerequisites for the course are not provided, the cost of the online course is $905 or can be paid on an installment basis at $191 for five payments. Discounts are provided if you opt to sign up for multiple classes.
Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)
Of all the certifying organizations, we highly suggest aiming for this one because CAPPA is a well-known international certification organization for childbirth educators, doulas, as well as lactation educators.
CAPPA is one of the first and most comprehensive perinatal organizations all over the world. Needless to say, it is respected because of its commitment to excellence.
CAPPA’s course uses different techniques, skills, as well as coping strategies. Similar to the previous one, the course can be completed at your own pace, which means, less pressure on your end.
The course runs for two years, which includes both training class as well as observation of two labors/births that total at least 10 hours.
To be accepted, you must be at least 18 years old. As with the cost, it starts at $765 and up excluding books.
Bebo Mia Inc.
Bebo Mia is a training and mentorship organization for those who want to work in the reproductive health field, which includes, of course, childbirth educators.
The organizations uses a multi-modality approach from a diverse team of instructors.
To complete the course, you will be given a new module every week for six weeks. Beyond that, you will take your first steps as a childbirth educator.
While the course is online, there’s what they call as a hands-on feel.
To be able to take the course, though, you have to be a certified doula or birth worker already. Otherwise, you can bundle your childbirth educator course or doula training with Bebo Mia’s Maternal Practitioner Training.
Bebo Mia course costs $679. However, you can split it into three or six payments, which costs $230 or $120 respectively.
Birthing from Within
Birthing from Within was founded only in 2017, but since then, it continues to help individuals who want to pursue a career as a birth professional.
The organization’s programs as well as workshops were created through a collaborative effort that is based on the deep connection that the women behind it have for one another.
Birthing from Within offers certification for both childbirth educators as well as birth doulas.
Particularly on the Childbirth Educator course called, Birth As A Heroic Journey, it costs $797. But, you are also given the option to pay it in two, three, or four-month terms. Scholarships for BIPOC are also available.
Additionally, you will also have to pay $150 as certification fee.
Apart from the aforementioned certification organizations, you may also acquire childbirth educator certification from the following:
- Birthworks International
- Birthwell Birthright
- International Birth and Wellness Project (Formerly ALACE)
- Lamaze International
- The American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth (AAHCC) – The Bradley Method
- The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
HOW TO CHOOSE A CHILDBIRTH EDUCATOR CERTIFICATION ORGANIZATION?
In the above section, we mentioned some of the different organizations that offer certification for childbirth professionals like childbirth educators. But perhaps you are wondering, with so many options, how do you choose which one to take?
Will you base it on how much you the programs are? The locations?
Well, here’s the thing, while the location and the cost are part of the deciding factors, the primary thing that you need to consider is which program or course fits your philosophy of birth. Also, consider thinking about your time frame. How much time are you willing to invest to become a childbirth educator?
Another factor that you may consider as you make a decision is your education or work background. For example, if you are a nurse who works in labor and delivery, then you might need adult education instead of observations of births.
To know exactly what it is that fits you, we recommend taking the time to study the course curriculum of every choice you have.
HOW MUCH DOES A CHILDBIRTH EDUCATOR MAKE?
Of course, apart from the technicalities on how to become a childbirth educator, one thing that you also want to know about is how much does one make from being an educator, right?
Generally speaking, how much a childbirth educator earns depends on factors like the work setting, your experience, expertise, as well as your certifications.
In terms of working setting though, a childbirth educator may offer her services as a public health educator in hospitals, community centers, private practice, or in most cases, you can start your own business from home.
However, to give you an idea of how much you may expect as a childbirth educator, according to Salary.com, the average Childbirth Educator salary in the United States is $68,244. It may fall to as low as $57,817 or as high as $78,238.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO BECOME A CHILDBIRTH EDUCATOR
Perhaps a lot of women would agree with us if we say that giving birth, while it can be painful is one of the most beautiful things you could ever go through in life. And you know what? Every woman and their partners too should feel that way, and that is only possible with the right information.
Now, for every childbirth to be a memorable and beautiful experience for both parents, childbirth professionals like childbirth educators must be there to guide and inform them.
You see, a childbirth educator’s job is probably one of the most fulfilling jobs. You can only imagine how it feels to see parents become ready for the birth of their child and even the days after that. That’s priceless, right?